Sunday, October 30, 2005

Channeling my inner Asian

So I went to Chiller this weekend - it's a horror convention, like HorrorFind down in Maryland, except it's quite a bit bigger and much, much suckier.

The problem is that there's a line for everything. A line to trade your ticket for a wristband, a line (outside, in October, in the Northeast) to get into the vendor area, a line to get into the actual vendor rooms. A line for celebrities, a line for every-freakin'-thing.

But I did drop some cash - and all of it at Poker Industries, which I could drive to any day of the week, but tend to only buy from at conventions.

The strange thing is, I bought six DVDs (at a cost of about $100) and all were Asian films of one sort or another.

This, from a guy who once remarked when asked if he studied his Vietnamese heritage that I've seen "Platoon," "Full Metal Jacket" AND "Hamburger Hill."

Maybe I'm getting ethnic as I get older or something.

I got "Immortal," "Naked Weapon" (which doesn't appear to be about sex), "Seven Swords," "Unhuman" and "Unleashed." Plus "The Princess Blade," which I'm quite sure I'll refer to as "The Princess Bride" before all is said and done. And often, I inadvertantly type "The Princess Bridge" anyway. But I'm wandering way far afield.

I'm the first to admit I'm not much of an Asian, what with the white, Jewish family and the relatively sizeable build and the penchant for dating white Catholic girls.

But sometimes, I guess I just get in a mood to get in touch with my roots. Or at least the roots that direct really killer action sequences. That would be movies like "Naked Weapon," "from the action-director of Jet Li's 'Hero' and Miramax cause-celebre 'Shaolin Soccer.'" Or "The Princess Blade," "featuring eye-shattering action sequences by the fight choreographer of 'Iron Monkey' and 'Blade II'..."

I'm taking a chance on all these films, despite their outstanding resumes, as I've never seen any.

"Unhuman" looks like a "Species" ripoff, and the box cover's English description... well, isn't really in English.

Aside, one of the classic un-PC moments in DVD history has to be Media Blasters' "Biozombie" DVD, which features English subtitles and additional "Engrish" subtitles, which are derived from the notoriously dreadful subs on many import DVDs, such as the one for "Biozombie" that many of us snagged before Media Blasters put out their version.

Near as I can tell, there are three kinds of Asian movies that catch my eye: the horror ones, which are either creepy as hell ("Ju-on," "Dark Water," etc.) or just plain weird (just about anything in Synapse's Asian Cult Cinema Collection); the sex ones, many of which are cartoons, and most of which are also just plain weird; and the action ones.

I mean, the ridiculous "Twins Effect" and "Twins Effect 2" are actually a lot of fun, in no small part because of the crazy action.

Imagine what the action is like in the flicks that aren't vehicles for bubbly Canto-pop chicks.

Let's face it, Asians have a pretty good catalog of cool action. There's the old-time samurai stuff. Razor-sharp swords, fancy armor and a concept of honor that's so stiff it's almost twisted. Then there's the martial arts stuff, from wire-fu to just plain jaw-dropping stunts and fights (seen Tony Jaa in "Ong-Bak"? care that he really can't act? nope.). And of course, there's the John Woo two-guns blazing modern contemporary stuff, that made Chow-Yun Fat famous.

And of course, there's that ever-present Asian spin on things, be it the style of ghosts (girls with white skin and long, limp black hair), the random rapes that drag down the class of some flicks (there's something generally repressed about the whole society, if you based your impression solely on films) or the notions of honor that seem ingrained in the genes.

I mean, take the Korean film "Natural City." This is "Blade Runner," only more depressing. Strike that. This is "Blade Runner," only even more depressing. It's not like "Blade Runner" is an upper. This one's even more of a downer.

But Asian film is all something that I'm developing a growing fascination with. Since after all, I didn't buy a single horror flick at a horror convention (unless "Unhuman" is horror; it's the only one of the six that even has a chance).

I've been thinking lately I should try Kurosawa again, even at the Criterion Collection's unholy prices. I have "Seven Samurai," but I'm thinking of buying a few more and having a little weekend of it. I saw "Rashomon" in college and it bored the snot out of me, but I think I should give it another try.

Maybe as I'm getting older there's something that kicked in somewhere in my system that says "You're Vietnamese, dude."

I've never cared about my Asian culture. I've never cared about my Asian past. I've never cared about my Asian heritage. I'm an Eastern European Jew, the child of Eastern European Jews. I just don't look the part.

It's not like I suddenly want to go back to Vietnam. On the other hand, most of the good flicks come from Japan or Hong Kong. I wouldn't mind going there, I suspect. But I'd be just another tourist. In Vietnam, I'd be a native. It would be creepy. It would be wrong.

That feeling hasn't changed, and I doubt it will, no matter how many Hong Kong action films or Japanese ghost stories (or even their American remakes) I watch.

So this whole Asian film thing could just be another one of my short-term obsessions, like the Civil War books - haven't read one of those in weeks - or the trains, which haven't been the same since my train store moved to another town, no longer on my way to work.

Or it could just be something inside that meandered to the surface when I turned 30, the way zits meandered to the surface when I turned 13.

(Aside, again, my doctor told me when my acne started getting bad that it would go away when I got older, like 16-17-18 years old. This was a lie. I still get pimples. And they still piss me off. I mean, I'm 30 years old, for crying out loud, I've got to be post-pubescent by now. But I digress.)

The point is, I just don't know why this sudden interest in Asian films. It goes beyond the fact that virtually every Asian actress is smokin' hot. It goes beyond my love for adrenaline-inducing films. It even goes beyond my shop-a-holic tendencies.

Six blind buys in one 10-minute blaze of glory. I haven't bought six blind buys this entire fall, I don't think.

"Seven Swords" has a way cool package with a slipcase and fold-out box, plus some artwork included. Here's hoping these flicks play as good as they look.

Chiller Theatre; you could still go today (Sunday), but bring a little cash and more patience
Poker Industries; to quote Loverboy, "that's where my money goes"
"Immortal," which, now that I Google it, turns out to be French; hey, the disc is Japanese, sue me, I'm not rewriting this post
A review of "Naked Weapon," which apparently has lesbians
A "Princess Blade" review...
...And a "Princess Bride" Web site
The "Seven Swords" news release; this looks very promising
An "Unhuman" review; this looks not-so-promising
And "Unleashed," once called "Danny the Dog," which sounds like a kids' book

Oh, and if you want to know more about Stewie and me at Chiller, hop on over to HorrorTalk and read our posts on the forum. It's always great hangin' with Stewie, even if the lines at the con were the suck.

And by the way, tonight was the night to turn back your clocks (spring ahead, fall back, right?) so I can't exactly vouch for the time on this bad boy. It might be an hour earlier, or an hour later. I won't be able to figure this one out until kickoff, I suspect - if I turn on the TV when the clock says 1, and there's no football, it's really noon. If it's the second quarter, it's really 2. Sigh.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Everything has a price

Renaldo found this link that puts a dollar value on blogs.

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

Frankly, if you've got the five grand, I'll sell.

Monday, October 24, 2005

You wonder why I'm crazy?

So here I am, on the first day of my vacation. Let me give you the SportsCenter highlights of the day:

1. I wake up and check my e-mail in time to discover there's been some difficulties with the movie.


2. I make some phone calls and discover I won't have to spend the day cutting up cardboard, because they will pick up leftover boxes from a move one-time-only for free.


3. I find out the difficulties with the movie are not a problem at all.


4. My dryer, which I paid to get repaired three weeks ago and haven't used since, refuses to work. Sending me back to the laundromat with wet laundry. (I do, however, get to take out a bit of frustration by bitching at the guy who has the bad luck to answer the phone at the appliance repair guy. But I still have to go to the laundromat.)


You wonder why I'm freakin' nuts. This is how my life goes. It's a wonder I was just depressed and not bipolar. Sheesh.

Timewarp Films, making "Dead Hunt" even better every day
The sine wave oscillator: you'll understand why I picked it when you see it

Close your eyes, click your heels together three times and say, "It could be worse. It could always be worse."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Like father, like son

The other day my parents came down to visit, and when they were in my guest bedroom/office, my father took a look at the bookshelves and remarked that I am, indeed, part of the family.

For those who haven't seen, my bookshelves are literally bowing under the weight of the books I've crammed into them. I could use about four more shelving units, at a minimum.

It was just one of those little heartwarming moments I enjoy about having a close family.

When I think of my father, I think of all those years he waited for me to grow up (yeah, he might still be waiting sometimes...) so he could hold intelligent conversations with me.

One of the great triumphs of my life, as I believe I've mentioned, was when I came home from college after taking a Shakespeare course and discussed the final with him.

My father, the retired English professor, as you might have guessed, is a reader. So am I. (Mom is, too.) And while my reading material might not be quite so intellectual, my library has its moments.

I've got an entire bookshelf full of Civil War books, thanks to that addiction. I moved my limited edition horror hardcovers to the living room, so they'd look nicer than they did laid horizontally on a shelf in front of even more hardcovers.

My paperbacks fill another bookshelf - stacked horizontally three columns wide and two deep.

And like my father, I think I may have to retire to catch up with everything.

I can't resist a good book. A book that catches my eye will usually end up stuffed into a rare empty space on the shelves. I love to read.

(Yeah, I know, I should probably save a lot of money and join the library, but I've never been much for borrowing books - I hate having to finish them by a certain date. And I love to browse a bookstore, particularly used-book stores or eclectic ones. I often say you can't get a copy editor past a used-book store without them going inside.)

The problem is, there are so many books, and so little time.

Well, that, and the fact that I read for a living. That takes some of the fun out of it. Because I read so intensely for work, I find I often prefer to read fairly mindless fiction for pleasure (though I love history, too, it's often escapist nonfiction like military history or bizarre events, or undersea adventures).

Sure, I studied some lit in college, and enjoyed it. In fact, in addition to the Shakespeare course, which I loved because I really felt connected with my father - in part because I used an old Riverside edition of his, so I could see his writing every day - I got the nicest compliment I think I've ever had on a paper in my Romantics class. Professor Slack (may he rest in peace) wrote that my final paper, on Coleridge, was the kind of paper that was a pleasure to read, or maybe that made it a pleasure to teach. I remember the "pleasure" part, and I can't find the paper - odds are it's lost to the garbage dump of time, but I hope it's in my folks' basement somewhere. Point is, it was a compliment to make the heart swell with pride. I wish I'd gotten to thank him - my roommate picked up the paper for me because I had an interview and had to skip the final class (not a job interview, I was freelancing for a hockey magazine).

Professor Slack was one of three professors at CMU with 50 years in - they were really emeritus professors teaching because back then, the literary and cultural studies group emphasized the cultural studies. So much so that people started avoiding some profs like the plague and they had to revamp the whole program.

Professor Hart (may he also rest in peace), who taught Shakespeare, was a man I liked to refer to as the Yoda of the English department. He was short, wrinkled, had a little bit of white hair, walked with a limp, was so old he probably played high-school football with the Bard himself and, as all good Jedi masters should, he knew EVERYTHING. He was a great professor - and enjoyed my work, which never hurts. Plus, he drove all the way to Florida, by himself, in a weekend, to pick up his wife from something and drive her back to Pennsylvania. And he brought us chocolate.

The only reason I missed out on the third 50-year guy was he canceled the course of his I signed up for while recovering from getting caught up in the great Usenet bboard censorship controversy at CMU. (He was vice provost or something.) But he's the only one of the three still living, and it looks like he's still teaching, so maybe you can complete my hat trick.

Anyway, when you're reading some of my posts (probably the ones about munkees) and thinking I'm an uneducated wingnut, you're wrong. Well, half wrong. I may be a wingnut, but I've got a good education.

And it started at home, with parents who may not have given me a single gene but, in addition to their love, gave me their love of a good book.

The Carnegie Mellon English department
A lecture of Professor Hart's
CMU's library donations, which include some in memory of both Professor Slack and Professor "Pete" Jones, another lit prof of mine
A tribute to Professor Slack, by another former student
Something on Coleridge
And something on Shakespeare

Normally, I wouldn't even dream of shilling for CMU - I hold enough revulsion for certain parts of it and people I met there that they can raise money without my help - but Professors Hart, Slack and Jones are the kind of men who, to paraphrase further off target, made it a pleasure to go to class and learn.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Call me crazy, but...

My psychologist says I know the difference between fantasy and reality, I just prefer fantasy.

Maybe it's because I told her I want to be a munkee when I grow up.

But I suspect it has something to do with my overactive imagination.

I've always loved creating little scenarios in my mind, stories I think myself to sleep with, or imagine while I'm driving on a long trip. Some of them turn into writing - My favorite script was based on a dream I had, and I've used many characters from my imaginary plays in my "real" works.

I love things that stretch my imagination, I love to pretend. Not like kinky role-playing sex pretend, but like playing D&D - I love to imagine I'm a big sword-swinging fighter, slaying monsters and plundering gold.

It's much more exciting than being a medium-sized, red-pen-wielding copy editor, slaying typos and struggling to pay the mortgage.

Part of it's my inner child screaming to be let out, I suspect. I was always much happier when I was a boy, whether it's because of some postpubescent chemical imbalance or what, I don't know.

But the happiest days of my life were my innocent ones, playing with my "Star Wars" toys and GI Joes and imaging I was the big hero saving the world. Boy, the scenarios I came up with then. I probably could've made a whole "Star Wars" film of my own. And judging from Episodes I and II, maybe I should've. Though Ep. III was good.

I guess we all want to be heroes in some way. I've never had the chance. If I ever get it, I hope I rise to the occasion. I always do in my fantasy world. Maybe that's why I prefer it. I can be whatever I want, and I never fail. I always slay the beast, I always get the girl, and everything is always just and fair and right.

Oddly, a lot of my protagonists are women. I suppose I'm in touch with my feminine side, or perhaps I'm really a male lesbian. (As I was joking the other day, I'm attracted to girls, but I envy their clothing options.) I mean, I'm something of an alpha-male personality (that whole sports-and-violence thing), so I don't have a real explanation. Maybe I'm just fascinated with women. I sure as hell don't understand them.

It's not that I can't cope with reality. I cope with reality every day. I guess I'm just bored by it. Maybe I have too much brain for focusing on the here and now, and I have to keep the rest occupied. Maybe I just wish things were different. I don't know. That seems to speak to a kind of dissatisfaction, and while there is always dissatisfaction (unless maybe you're Hugh Hefner), it's not like my life sucks. It's pretty good.

Maybe I've just been alone, talking to Mookie (my stuffed monkey), too long. Got cabin fever or gone stir-crazy or whatever.

Maybe I just don't have the patience to see that someday my life will be exciting and wonderful - I just have to work my way there.

Or maybe I really do just want to be a little tiny bunnymunkee, scampering and playing and never knowing all the bad things that can happen, never worrying that more will happen and I won't be able to do anything about it, never being bored, or restless, or sad.

I hope I live long enough to go to the moon. I'll keep hoping.

You know what, I ran a Google search on "psychology reality vs. fantasy" and everything I found was about how D&D makes you into a killer. So I'm not putting up any links. I play D&D every month and the only thing I ever killed that was bigger than a spider was a raccoon I hit with my car on a dark country road late one night.

Well, there was that disputed rabbit. But I say, as that twit from Aruba said, no body, no murder. Blood and fur in the road does not a bunny corpse make.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Did you ever have one of those days?

My computer at work was on the fritz all day. I don't know why. It started acting weird a couple of days ago, and today it just blew up completely.

That was a royal pain in the rear.

Between that and some other crap that went wrong, it was an extremely aggravating day.

I haven't felt that frustrated in a while. It was nice to really want to fly off the handle, but be able to restrain myself.

I was thisclose to a primal scream, though.

What a day. Sheesh.

Last week just flew by. This week's already dragging.

But next week, vacation!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Truer words were seldom spoken...

TLC's fall slogan is "It's Someplace Else."

Yeah, and it's not someplace I recognize or want to be.

The network I used to watch more than any other except ESPN has gone all to hell this fall.

The trouble started back in the spring, when "Trading Spaces" dumped Paige Davis and went hostless. It sucks. I've watched one episode since about June - the one where they conned the designers with fake homeowners. That one was good. But otherwise, the hostless format is the suck, something it took me about three episodes to realize.

Then two shows I used to watch sporadically, "Trading Spaces: Family" (which kept its irritating host, Joe Farrell) and "In a Fix," vanished from the primetime lineup. They were still on here and there... which is probably how I missed that they got canceled in July. And while these weren't shows I watched regularly, I still watched the repeats from time to time.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, the last show standing, "While You Were Out," vanished from the primetime schedule. Apparently, it hasn't been canceled, but it's been shuffled off to a dreadful 6 p.m. Saturday timeslot, plus its "regular" daily repeat at 5, left over from the days when WYWO and TS were the two hottest shows on TLC.

Meanwhile, TLC has added a lineup of shows that look about as appealing as having a medical implement shoved up my penis. And take my word for it, this isn't very appealing. I'm never trusting a urologist again.

I'll give Adam Carolla this: He was at Raiders minicamp a few years ago, so I'm hoping he's a Raiders fan. That's not going to get me watching his stupid show. And the less said about "Tuckerville" and "Ballroom Bootcamp," the better. Words, on the other hand, cannot describe the horror that was "Random Acts of Duff." I caught a couple of minutes of this. I'd rather go back to the urologist, daily.

Now, I'll admit my TV watching runs in phases. Ask the Iron Chefs, who I haven't seen in ages. On the other hand, I'm watching "Food Network Challenge" every week.

But TLC had shows I consistently enjoyed - particularly as a novice homeowner. And now the cupboard is pretty much bare.

It's too bad. But it was fun while it lasted.

WYWO: While You Were Online
The Web site of Evan Farmer, WYWO host - he takes some getting used to, but he grows on you after a while
The train wreck that is today's TLC

Giving 'em the finger

Kinda lame topic today, but it's what's on my mind...

I'm eating Wendy's chili. I love Wendy's chili, and Wendy's is on my way home, open 'til 1 a.m. and only $2 for a large.

I missed Wendy's chili. I didn't eat it for a while because of that whole finger incident.

You know, the one where the lady in California told everyone and their mother than she found a finger in her chili at Wendy's?

Well, much like when I saw "Jaws" as a kid, and didn't go swimming for years, or when the terrorists were all over back in the mid-'80s, and my family wound up taking the train to Florida, this was cause for avoidance.

Until, of course, they figured out the lady put the finger in the chili herself.

She wanted to sue, of course, since we live in a litigious society. Now, Wendy's is trying to get some kind of compensation from her because of their lost business. On the other hand, if she had money, she wouldn't be borrowing a relative's finger to try and extort some from them.

Insert various "allegedlys" here. I have no idea what the status of the lawsuits are. I don't care.

The point is, I can eat my Wendy's chili again, and I'm happier for it. I've gained back a few pounds, but I'm happier.

Stupid woman, ruining my fun. I hate when people do stuff like that, and it hurts everybody, even people who had nothing to do with it. Like, everybody who loves Wendy's chili was afraid to eat it, lest they get a finger of their own, and she's just trying to get rich quick. I wouldn't mind getting rich quick, but I'll play the Mega lottery like everyone else.

By the way, remember that early post where I remarked how the littlest bonus surprises make me happy? I got not the usual zero chili spice packets tonight, not one, not two, but three! Super-duper-hot-munkee-Wendy's-chili! Yay!

Plus, I always ask for a package of croutons. Croutons make everything better. Croutons should be their own food group. And it's the second batch of croutons I had today, since I got lunch at Saladworks.

Speaking of a litigious society, did you see my favorite political hypocrite Tom DeLay had his lawyers subpoena the prosecutor who's trying to bust him? Some people have no fundamental decency.

Oh, and speaking of Republican goofs, how about this Harriet Miers thing with the Supreme Court? Kind of funny to see the conservatives freaking out - for once they're not taking Dubya's word for it, I guess!

Best sentence of the day on her and her qualifications, courtesy of

"Miers left few clues to her position on abortion when she served on the Dallas City Council and as lottery commissioner during Bush's Texas governorship."

Because, traditionally, when I want to read a position paper on abortion, I look to the state lottery commissioner. Uh-huh.

"Tonight's first number in the Pick Three is... six! The second number... six! And the third number is... three! Fooled you! You thought it was going to be six-six-six because abortion is the work of the devil, didn't you? Ha-ha-ha! Thanks for playing the Texas Lotto Pick Three! All proceeds go to benefit senior citizens."

Somewhere, I said at work tonight, an enterprising reporter is trying to convince his editor to let him call all 50 state lottery commissioners to ask them THEIR opinions on abortion. Where's The Onion when you need it?

Wendy's, where you can get a small chili for 99 cents and a large for just a dollar more!
Marie Callender's Croutons, just one of many kinds
(Yes, food makers, Mookie J. Monkey is available for commercials and endorsements. Send samples to him c/o me. Munkees like chili! Munkees like croutons!)
And a news story on the whole finger scandal

Last, but not least, this is what happens when Texas Lottery commissioners take a real stand. And this, of course, is priceless:

Sept. 29, 2005: Texas Lottery commissioner steps down to become judge

And not the one you're thinking of.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Munkee test!

I made a test on OKCupid! Guess what it's about? That's right... munkees!

Check out my Do You Like Munkees Test!

What kind of munkee are you?

(No pictures yet, sorry. I'm working on it.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A fleeting moment of brilliance

In a discussion of boating at work today, I thought of the perfect name for a boat.

I've often said I'll know I've made it when I can afford a boat. I was told boats aren't nearly as expensive as I imagine them to be.

So, someday, when I own a boat, I know what I'm going to name it.

"Oh shit! Bail! Bail!" was option No. 1. I think that would look good in that gold cursive writing.

But instead, my boat-to-be shall be called:

"The Chief Brody."

For those scratching their heads, mystified: Chief Brody was the Roy Scheider character in "Jaws," and his most famous line is, upon seeing the shark for the first time, "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

The official home of "Jaws"
The 59th-scariest movie scene

And I'm still waiting for "Jaws Unleashed" for my PS2.

There's never enough time...

That's a "Timecop" joke. If you haven't seen it (and judging from the profit margin, you haven't), never mind.

I was just thinking as I procrastinate here that there's never enough time to get things done that I need to get done. Especially when I don't want to do them.

Even the things I enjoy, sometimes I don't feel like doing, you know? But I'm up against deadlines. Not just at work, but every day, it feels like. If it's not one thing, it's another.

I'm trying to do a work-related project that's starting to both freak me out and annoy the crap out of me.

I'm trying to get into the playoffs in my Strat league. (To borrow a phrase from a short play I wrote in college, "He's not going to make it.")

And I've got two HorrorTalk reviews to edit.

All this by the time I go to work Friday, which is about 60 hours from now. In fact, I've got to get most of it done by the time I go to work Thursday, which is about 36 hours from now.

And I'm totally unmotivated. Well, I'm motivated. I've got both professional pride and a playoff berth at stake. But the odds are long on success at either. So I'm not that motivated.

Oh, and I should be working on a review myself. Plus I got a movie I want to watch.

Plus, I want to play with iTunes. I got my tax rebate today, and that could be a cure for my iPod envy. I like my little Rio, but if it doesn't work right with the software, I'm not getting the most out of the experience. To eBay with ya, my little companion.

So if anybody wants to buy a 5GB Rio Carbon, post a comment. PayPal accepted.

Speaking of my property tax rebate, darn you acting Governor Codey. I backed you on that whole postpartum depression thing. I think you should've kicked that stupid DJ's ass. And what's my reward? You cut my property tax rebate in half! Good thing you're not running for governor. You lost my vote.

I always said I didn't care how corrupt Jimmy Mac got, as long as he kept buying my vote with that rebate, I would have kept voting for him. I don't care if he's gay. I care that he sent me a lot more $$$ last year. I might've been able to cure my iPod envy AND get that "Star Blazers" set I'm pining for.


See if you can find the "Timecop" line I'm quoting
Rebel against the Procrasti Nation!
The JAMHL standings; note my Quakes in last
HorrorTalk, of course
iPod, by Apple
Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey of New Jersey
Former Gov. James E. McGreevey, "a gay American"

As I searched for a McGreevey link, I was reminded of two jokes, both of which I'll put in quotes even though I'm probably merely paraphrasing (sue me, I'm not at work).

One was Jon Stewart's reaction to McGreevey's coming-out catchphrase: "Holy shit! I had no idea he was an American!"

The other is the routine I always attribute to George Carlin, though I worry it was someone else... the one about how people say someone is "openly" gay and "happens to be" black, and how you never hear the reverse.

"No one 'happens to be gay.' No one is 'openly black.' Well, maybe Louis Farrakhan. Colin Powell isn't openly black. Colin Powell is openly white. He happens to be black."

Heard a good joke at work today, too. I'm paraphrasing this one, too.

A little boy writes a letter to God asking for $100, and puts it in the mailbox. The post office, seeing a letter addressed to "God, U.S.A." sends it to the White House and the president. The president reads the letter and is touched by the boy's request. He puts a brand-new $5 bill in the envelope, thinking how such a young child will be impressed by this amount of money, and mails it back.

The boy gets the letter, sees the money, and of course he writes a thank you.

"Dear God, thank you so much for granting my wish for $100. Unfortunately, your letter was routed through Washington, and the bastards took out $95 in tax."

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all life!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm not a fighter, I just play one in D&D

OK, so I am a fighter... but I play one in D&D, too. And I found this cool test on OKCupid, so I took it. Here's what I got!

And yes, I'm a little disappointed in my intellect score.
And no, I don't know why the thing is so spaced out - I copied and pasted, and when I tweaked it, it really didn't help.

81% Combativeness, 46% Sneakiness, 64% Intellect, 50% Spirituality
Aggressive, but with the brains to back it up: You are a Spellsword!
Score! You have a prestige class. A prestige class can only be taken after you’ve fulfilled certain requirements. This may mean that you're an exceptionally talented person, but it probably doesn't.
Spellswords combine arcane might with combat know-how. They're much tougher than mages, like to wear armor, and can cast spells through their weapons. They're very, very, good at doing lots of damage to a single target very quickly, and while not quite as tough as most fighters, are still pretty hard to kill.
You're both smart and aggressive, which means that you're probably pretty dangerous when pissed off. You also tend to be somewhat straightforward, which is nice, and don’t have much use for spirituality or mysticism.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 87% on Combativeness

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 68% on Sneakiness

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 37% on Intellect

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You scored higher than 62% on Spirituality
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Hung out to dry

Ah, the perils of homeownership.

My dryer broke this weekend. The motor was going but the barrel wasn't spinning.

And of course, it broke on the first run for a new load. So now I've got 20 pounds of wet clothes, and it's like 9 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Yeah, I know, I was home doing laundry and playing Strat hockey on a Saturday night. My life sucks. That's not the point.

Anyway, after hanging my clothes pretty much all over my two-point-five bathrooms for the night - one shirt dried, Lord knows how - I wound up in the laundromat the next day. For the first time in three years, since I inherited the washer and dryer with the ol' townhouse.

Two bucks in quarters (for an hour! yeesh!) later, I had dry clothes (and one dirty shirt, which took the grime off a shower curtain rod). In fact, I wasted a buck because it only took half an hour in the industrial dryer to do the trick. That's a two-hour job in my lil' old critter.

So after two fruitless days of phone calls, I finally got a repairman to come to my house ("The Appliance Guy"). Turns out the belt on the drum snapped. He said I got my money's worth out of it, though I suspect Mr. I.O. Everyone, who I bought the house from (the name has been changed to protect the guilty) got most of that.

A new dryer is $400-plus. My crappy old one is probably worth half that, if I'm lucky. And I paid $137.80 to get the thing fixed. (No, I didn't ask what it cost beforehand, I was just grateful somebody finally called me back and showed up.)

Anyway, figure that's a $20 part, plus tax. So I paid $100 for labor. The dude moved the dryer six inches, undid six screws, flipped the breaker, replaced the band, reversed the process, signed the receipt, talked a bit of Yankees, shook my hand and left in 20 minutes. That's like $300 an hour. I'm glad it wasn't something complicated that might have required him to undo like eight screws or something. Would've cost me next month's mortgage payment.

This month's mortgage payment. Crap. Time to balance the checkbook.

But I digress...

So, anyway, end result is, now I can finish my laundry without having to share time with the creepy people at the laundromat. Because even I'm somebody's creepy-person-at-the-laundromat, the others there creeped me out and are therefore worse.

Ah, the joy of homeownership. At least I got a guy in the house in two days. That's better than my track record with the plumber, and he literally lives across the street.

General Electric electric dryers
Appliance repair in the Hillsborough/Belle Mead Area
Save $137.80
The laundromat industry, as per the IRS

Maybe locksmithing wasn't the best career choice?

Monday, October 03, 2005

I know, I know...

Apologies for the lack of updates lately. I've been very busy, and I doubt that's going to change this week.

It's not that I'm losing interest in the blog (which often happens with my OCD-type personality), it's just a combination of not really having anything interesting to say and not having the time to type it all in.

Sorry. Hang in there!

And to all my fellow members of the Tribe, Happy New Year!

(All the Cleveland Indians fans are going, "Huh?" Not THAT Tribe.)